The Coronavirus pandemic has fundamentally changed how education is being delivered, with online teaching and learning now firmly on the timetable alongside the traditional classroom approach. Local and national lockdowns have made this necessary, along with the directive from the Department for Education (DfE) that all schools must provide remote learning to pupils who can’t physically attend due to Covid-19.
All schools were required to have a remote learning plan in place by 22nd October 2020, but many are still seeking help to make their plans more viable and effective. And with no prior experience or historical benchmark, even those equipped with the latest technologies are finding it a logistical nightmare.
Six steps towards live remote lessons
If your school is moving to (or already is) teaching pupils live rather than sending out links to pre-recorded lessons, ask yourself if you’ve taken the necessary steps to make live remote teaching successful:
- Have you updated your policies to include guidance for distance learning, such as data protection, staff conduct, pupil behaviour and child protection? Consider this in terms of pupils, staff members and parents
- Do your pupils have reliable internet connections and access to devices at home? Children won’t want to admit in front of their peers that they don’t, so let them respond in an online survey. Microsoft Forms and Google Forms are very useful – and free. Include questions about the type of device they have access to and whether they have to share it with siblings or working parents
- Which platform, such as Microsoft Teams or Google Meet, will you use for live lessons? Avoid using live streaming services on social media platforms that may prove distracting, such as Facebook Live
- Will you be recording live lessons? Many schools like to record lessons so they can audit them and have a resource for pupils to revisit but, to comply with data protection laws, you need participants’ explicit consent to do so. If your pupils are aged 12 or younger, their parents or guardians must consent. Where and how will you store the recordings securely? How long will you keep them for? When and how will they be deleted?
- Have you conducted a risk assessment and addressed any issues? For example, do your staff members have the right display screen equipment? Are they cyber-security savvy? Is their data as well protected as it would be if they were working at school? Remember: you need to complete a Data Protection Impact Assessment
- Have you consulted your designated safeguarding lead and data protection officer? They must ensure that you have all the right safeguarding measures in place.
When you have the answers to all these questions, you can devise an effective strategy for filling in the gaps when normal teaching resumes and to ensure that you have a robust plan in place for future hybrid learning at your school that follows the DfE guidelines.
To find out how Entrust’s experts can help you to get full marks for your remote education provision, feel free to contact us.